Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta felt his young side showed “courage” to overcome struggling Bournemouth 2-1 at Vitality Stadium today and set up an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Portsmouth.
Mikel Arteta’s side were good value for their victory, the platform for progress into the next round built on first-half goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah.
Eighteen-year-old Saka lashed a finish past Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers after only five minutes following good work from the outstanding Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli.
Saka then turned provider to set up Nketiah for a simple finish in the 26th minute.
Bournemouth substitute Sam Surridge pulled a goal back deep into eight minutes of stoppage to give the scoreline a look of respectability and give Arsenal some late anxious moments, but in reality the Gunners were by far the superior team.
“I’m very pleased. I knew it was going to be a tough game and we played a really young squad,” said Arteta. “I wanted to see the reaction and I was very pleased because I saw a lot of things I really liked.
“In the first half we were really, really good. They executed everything we planned in a really good way and showed the courage to make big decisions.
“We played with that accountability, making decisions and I really liked it. They were terrific with their work-rate, showed courage to make those big decisions and not to play safe. That is the difference.”
The only blot on Arsenal’s night was a second-half ankle injury that saw defender Shkodran Mustafi taken off on a stretcher.